Saturday, January 19, 2019

In the Red ... Scraps

We are still playing with our red scraps for the January Rainbow Scrap Challenge, and today is the linky party over at Angela’s So Scrappy blog. Let me show you what I worked on this week.

First, I made three of these great blocks. Each block consists of 4 quadrants, each a 9-patch made of 2.5” (unfinished) squares. So, the finished block is 36 patches. At this stage, they measure 12.5” each. I have no idea what they’re called, but I first saw and fell in love with them on Jennifer C’s blog HERE.


I think these will offer some interesting setting possibilities down the road.

Last year in the RSC, I made 6.5” crumb blocks. This year I’m joining them together in fours, separated by a 1.5” black strip. I only needed to make two red crumb blocks this year to finish up these three 13.5” Crumbcake blocks.


There are a few crumbs left, but I left them to provide some variety for next year. However,  I did piece these little 1.5x2.5” bitcoins. I think everyone else probably did them 1.5x3.5”, but my scraps warranted this size. I have no idea what I’ll do with this 4.5x12.5” block yet, but as always, the scraps find a home.


Moving on, it was time for strings. I am overrun with strings, and so I'm resorting to a tried and true favorite, single-color string blocks. This time around, they measure 9.5” unfinished, and I had enough red strings to make six blocks.


In truth, I made seven of them, but I trimmed one wrong (8.5”), so it is now residing in the Parts Department.

I also finished quilting the red Scottie Dog donation quilt, which was a finished I talked about in my last post.  It’s made with red cracker blocks of scottie dog fabric. You can see it at the link there, or click in my newly-revised quilt pages above (just below the blog header). It’s my first finish of the year. BUT..... But Saguaro Sunset is hot on its heels!

So, this is where SS ended up as of yesterday afternoon. Two of the four cacti in the final row are pieced and sewn - they are on the bottom right.


The last two cacti (the bottom left two) are in various stages of piecing. I hope to finish these this weekend so I can finish up and layer the quilt in the next week. Besides the pieces pinned up on the board, this is all I have left to work with of the light yellow fabric (below). I’m having to use more of the plain yellow than I’d have wanted, but needs must. If I’ve got some pieces left over to fix some of those plain yellow areas, I’ll do it. Stay tuned.


And here are the strips that will be used for a final deep, bright contrasting border.


But before I get back to the cacti, I’ve got to finish quilting a Jelly Roll Race quilt for Cousin Kim. What surprised both Kim and me was that I had the PERFECT backing in my stash. It was a duvet cover that I’d bought at the thrift store last summer for $5. Being a duvet cover (2-sided), it yielded two huge floral backings - similar but slightly different. They are very bright and Monet-like, and the colors matched up with the jelly roll that Kim used like they’d been made for each other. Total serendipity! Pictures to come.

Have a great week, friends.
Thursday, January 17, 2019

First Finish - A Donation Quilt

HA! When I was typing the title of this post, I typed “A Donation Quail”. Don’t ask me where my brain was, but it definitely wasn’t connected to my fingers. Anyway, I corrected it as you can see. So I have a QUILT, not a bird, to tell you about. It’s the Scottie Dog quilt (and here I keep typing God instead of Dog. We all know that cats are gods, not dogs, right? At least the cats think so). But I digress.

On Monday I sorted through all my batting scraps, which were piled high in the closet of the bedroom off my studio. I evened up the edges then either sewed or fused/ironed them together. The results were three Frankenpieced medium-sized quilt bats for donation quilts, neatly labeled with the size for future reference and 8 kennel quilt bats (less than 24” on all sides). And the remaining smaller pieces (less than 12” on a side) are saved for future zip pouches and smaller projects like that. I guess they could also be sewn together for more kennel quilts.


So, I pulled a Frankenbatt for the Scottie Dog quilt, layered it and quilted it up with a basic loop design. That was easy because it’s a small quilt. Then binding it was interesting. I used at least five different pieces of red and black binding, but that’s why we save the bits and bobs.

But the most challenging part was washing the darn thing. RED. I’ve never had reds bleed in the wash before, although I am always prepared when I wash any new quilt, fabric or clothing. It went in with 2 color catchers. They came out red, so I washed it again with 2 more color catchers, and they came out pink. Then I did a third wash and they just barely had some pink on them. I called it good. But it sure did shrink!  It went in at 44x52” and came out of the dryer rather scrunched up. I ironed it (who irons quilts?) and it measured 42x49”. But it’s soft and cuddly and ready for snuggling.


The backing was also a study in fabric variety - mostly the scottie dog fabric, but also large chunks of three other reds. It was a great use of lots of fabric pieces, binding, batting, etc.!

This donation quilt now goes into the pile. It’s my first finish of the year and is #4 on my Quarter 1 Finish-Along goals. You can see my list HERE.

Now it’s nose to the grindstone to finish up Saguaro Sunset by month-end. I have two more weeks to work on it, so I think I’m OK. Bruce and I went to JoAnn’s today where I got some flannel to use as batting. I do that for quilts that are going to family members in Arizona, because they don’t need the thick warm cotton batting. We had several other errands to run, then ended up having lunch at our favorite Japanese restaurant. I brought leftovers home, so there will be no cooking tonight. YAY!! That means more time to sew! (and do laundry...)


Saturday, January 12, 2019

A Red January Saturday

The weather is bleak and gray, the nights are long, the politicians are all crazy ..... yep, it must be January. Thank goodness for friends, family (and that includes the furry members), and sewing. I’m doing my best to keep my sanity until we get to the Vernal Equinox (only 67 more days, if you’re counting) ... or vacation in Arizona, whichever comes first. And this month we are focusing on the color red in the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. That’s a cheery color, so it’s fun to see my sewing room decked out like a bomb went off with red.

Last week I showed you samples of the cracker block and the classic anvil block that I intended to make. Well, here are their red little friends that got made this week.

10 Red Crackers (will finish at 7” each):


In addition to the blocks above, and in case you only drop by for Rainbow Scrap Saturday and didn’t see any interim posts, I made 42 more of these red cracker blocks out of some Scottie dog fabric I’ve had sitting around for awhile. This picture shows the blocks just pinned up on the design wall, but it is actually a completed flimsy now. I hope to have it completed by month-end into a gender neutral donation quilt for kids.


And then I sewed 5 red anvil blocks. Last week I called them “Little White Doves”, but that actually was the name of Jen Kingwell’s quilt that used this block in white. The blocks themselves are actually the classic Anvil block. And many thanks to Mari for pointing that out to me so now I can just call them anvils!  They are 8.5”, unfinished.


Much of the week was spent focusing on Saguaro Sunset. My goal for the week was to finish the 4 cacti in the second row, and I got it done. This is how the two rows look together so far.


Please excuse the blue painters tape. I had to get the first row up as high as I could to allow room on the design board to work the second row. The rows are not yet sewn together. Instead, after this picture was taken I pinned the second row up where the first row is so that I have room to work on the third and final row. That will consist of 4 more saguaros on a background that fades from light orange to golden yellow to light yellow. How it will look is anyone’s guess because I’m having to pull in whatever solids or ombre fabric I have left lying around. I hope to be able to squeak it out without having to go shopping for more fabric, which would be tragic (muahahahaha). Fingers crossed.

Next week’s goal on Saguaro Sunset is to get two more cacti done. The blocks take For.Ev.Er. when you are cutting pieces and playing with colors. But I am enjoying it.  :-)

I also sewed up eight “Fireball” blocks for the January Block Lotto. They are 6.5” each and I grouped them together for their glamour shot.


Darla had a dental appointment at the vet’s office this week and ended up having to have 2 teeth pulled. I told her she ought to brush better. She was NOT at all pleased to be caged in her carrier to and fro (the indignity!), but finally forgave me by the next day.

Alfie, on the other hand (paw?), was not in the least upset with Darla being gone, because he didn’t have to take turns in my lap.




Thursday, January 10, 2019

Goal List for 1st Quarter Finish-Along 2019

With the start of a new calendar year comes the opportunity to play along with the international gals from the ongoing Finish-Along Challenge. So today I’m listing the quilting and sewing goals I’ll be working toward for the next three months and linking up to the goal setting post HERE.

Last quarter I had ten goals and finished eight of them. So, this quarter I’ll start off with the two I didn’t get to last quarter.

1.   BIRDS IN THE LATTICE


Birds will be the first quilt I work on after I finish Saguaro Sunset (more on that in a minute), which is a gift with a deadline. It'll be sent out to a longarmer once the top and back are pieced. I hope to get it back and bound by the end of the quarter.


2.  ON RINGO LAKE

This one is a piecing nightmare for me to get the orientation of every little component straight, but I’ve sure learned a lot. And I love the colors I chose (gray instead of brown as a variation from Bonnie Hunter’s color pull).



3.   SAGUARO SUNSET


This quilt will be a gift for my sister- and brother-in-law when we see them in February, so I’m shooting for a January finish.


4.   REMEMBERING ARCHIBALD aka The Scottie Dog Quilt
FINISHED AND BLOGGED ABOUT HERE.

We once had a Scottish Terrier named Archibald (Archie). Since this fabric consists of black and white terriers, it reminded me of him. It will be a donation quilt. One of my goals this year is to include a lot of gender-neutral and/or masculine colors and fabrics in my donation quilt-making.


5.   ELEPHANTS

Speaking of gender-neutral donation quilts, that’s what is planned for this donation quilt. I got the elephant fabric on deep discount from a local quilt shop after I got back from Africa (where I got to visit and adopt two elephants from the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust).  I’m thinking that using Happy Blocks as a pattern will be perfect!




6.   SELVAGE QUILT

This quilt is also a holdover from last year.  I had a selvage quilt on my list last quarter, but had enough blocks to make two quilts then. And then there were STILL blocks, so I put them away until this quarter. Another donation quilt.


7.   GOOD FORTUNE

These are the pieces I’ve got to assemble to finish up the most recent Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt, Good Fortune.


8.   WALL QUILT OF B&C FABRIC TUMBLERS

I have some Bonnie & Camille fabric and have used it in quilts before. These are red, white and aqua leftover fat quarters from a couple of their fabric lines and a piece I’ll use for backing. I’ve been cutting them into tumblers and will make a simple wall hanging that can replace the Christmas wall hanging that’s now packed away. The wall is bare, and I eventually want to have a half dozen wall quilts that I can switch for different seasons.


And from the Parts Department, which needs some serious culling:

 9.   TABLE RUNNER
10.  DONATION QUILT
11.   4 KENNEL QUILTS (at least!!)

I’d like to make all of those items 9-11 from my stash of blocks and components in my Parts Department.



12.  PINEAPPLES TWO

And just for the fun of it, I’m going to add another Pineapple Quilt to the list. I already have the yellow strips cut and the backing bought. This will be for me, so it probably won’t work its way to the needle until next quarter, but just in case.....






Monday, January 7, 2019

OMG or TMG?

One Monthly Goal or Two Monthly Goals?  What?!? Really, I can’t decide if I should list one - and which one? -  or both of these quilts as my One Monthly Goal for January. I’m linking up (slipping in under the wire) with Patty at Elm Street Quilts to set my goal, which I guess I’ll have to decide on by the end of this post.

The dilemma: this “Squirrel!” project popped up out of nowhere on Saturday (well, it came from my feeble brain). Why not make a kid-sized donation quilt out of the Rainbow Scrap Challenge color of the month, red? I had a couple yards of a cute scottie dog fabric just yapping its head off to be used. And I loved those little cracker blocks I had started making for the RSC. So, yesterday, this happened:


Forty-two 7.5” red cracker blocks of scottie-dog fabric. How easy it would be to claim this as my OMG!  It just needs the blocks sewn together. Then maybe/maybe not add a border, sew a backing, baste, quilt, and bind. Easy-peasy for a quilt this size; the work of an afternoon. But it would be a kinda-sorta cop out.

The other project that I MUST finish by February 6th (-ish, give or take a day or two) is Saguaro Sunset. This is where that stands.


Seven more cactuses (12.5 x 20.5") to piece (in squares of 2.5 inches) trying to build a sunset-like color gradation with a questionable amount of fabric. Plus sashing and borders, sewing a back, basting, quilting and binding. This one has trouble written all over it (but I loves me a good troublemaker!). The other thing is I know I can finish it by the February deadline (when we leave on vacation), but I don’t know if I can finish it by the end of January.

So, what to do??  OK, Executive Decision Time.

I am going to push myself to finish SAGUARO SUNSET in January. The dogs can wait, or provide comic relief (you ought to see how bad the point matching is) when I need a break from the prickly cacti.  Wish me luck. Better yet, come on over and I’ll put you to work behind my new back-up sewing machine, Bob.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Quilty Plans for 2019

First of all, Happy New Year to all of you. May 2019 be happy, healthy and full of all good things for you! I’ve been putting off writing this Plan for 2019 post because I can’t quite define, or wrap my head around, what exactly I want to do quilting-wise this year. Oh, I have plenty of ideas and fabric, but I’m just not sure how well I can describe them. It feels to me like a bunch of floating ideas, not a cohesive plan. But here goes....

I try to be an organized person. After working for about 35 years outside the home, I was adept at keeping a planner, making schedules and lists and sticking to them. When I retired, it was a priority of mine to let go of timetables, planners, schedules. Even sleeping in (until 8:00 am!) was a luxury. But I found my footing over several years and now find that I need to add some of that back in. The operative word here being some.  This is the 3rd year that I’m using a planner again. This year I’m trying the Quilter’s Planner. It is expensive, detailed, but not in the ways I want. It’s too big and there’s so much stuff I’m not interested in. Last year I just bought a planner at Barnes & Noble that seemed to suit my needs. But it was too generic and bare bones. Too small. Back in 2017 I used Lori Holt’s Scrappy Project Planner. We are only a few days into 2019, and I can already tell you that going forward (2020 and beyond) I’ll be going back to Lori’s Scrappy Project Planner. It is just right! (Are you thinking of Goldilocks and the Three Bears here?)  I still use some of the leftover Scrappy Project Planner pages to supplement my other books. Live and learn.

The online tools I use to keep me on track (insert sound of whip cracking here) are the Finish-Along goal-setting and finishing link-ups (with prizes!).  We set our own quarterly goals and work toward them. No pressure, just self-accountability. When we finish a project, we blog about it, link up to their end-of-quarter post and become eligible for prizes. It’s the same concept for OMG - One Monthly Goal - only that’s done on a monthly basis. Again, it’s a project we choose to work toward completing. No penalty for not finishing, but eligibility for prize incentives if we do. But my favorite of all is the Rainbow Scrap Challenge - working with an assigned color every month, we work through our scraps to make whatever we want. The buttons and links for these are on my right sidebar if you’d like to learn more about them.

Now, let’s get down to business. Generally speaking, I want to do more charity quilting. Last year I made some quilts for Quilty Hugs (see link on sidebar) and one at year-end for Quilts for Kids. In 2017 (and a few in 2018) I made lots of kennel quilts for the local Best Friends Animal Society. This year, I plan to participate with all three charities. I have no family gift quilts I need to make (after Saguaro Sunset, which I’ll talk about in a minute) and my closets are overflowing with quilts. Literally! I’ve already contacted our (family) contractor Jeff and spoken to him about expanding our hall linen closet. No lie. I’ve wanted to do it since we moved in 15 years ago, but it will happen this spring.


Like everyone else, I’m doing string scraps this year. I believe 2019 is Year of the String. At Christmastime, I treated myself to two new books, both published at the end of the year and both about string quilting.

Left: Strip Quilt Secrets by Diane Knott. My favorite of the two; very do-able projects (including a selvage project). You can check it out HERE.

Right: Bonnie Hunter’s String Frenzy. To get an autographed copy, check out Bonnie’s blog (full-price is charged, but you get a free extra pattern download). Or check out other retailers. HERE is a link to the publisher, C&T Publishing.

So that moves me on to my favorite subject - the Rainbow Scrap Challenge. This month, our organizer and leader, Angela of SoScrappy, has called the color RED for January. Our weekly Saturday link-up is HERE.

This week I tackled my selvages. I had hoped not to have to do any selvage project this year, but they keep accumulating. I swear, this is the last year for selvages. I’m not going to save them anymore!!  So, I’ve got 2 small selvage projects going. Last year I made 6.5” selvage blocks, but then made some 4.5” blocks when the colors ran low and I couldn’t make the full 6.5”.  So, I’m supplementing those smaller blocks with any remaining colored selvages in the color of the month and pairing them with low-volume and color background fabrics to make 8.5” (unfinished size) 4-patches. Eventually, I hope to get a smallish donation quilt out of them.

My multi-colored selvages - those that do not identify with a particular color family - have grown completely out of control.  Witness these two boxes full (not sorted; some obviously will fit in with a particular color.


Since I bought myself a (used) Go! Baby cutter last fall, and had the tumbler die, I decided to pair multi-colored selvages with single color tumblers. I made 5” selvage blocks, ran them through the cutter, then cut red tumblers and sewed together.


Yield: One red scrappy tumbler row, measuring approximately 39” across. I’ll make one of these every month in the monthly color and have a rainbow quilt in 10 months. I can add a border or two to expand it to whatever size I’ll need for donation and use up my selvages in the process.


I haven’t tackled my strings yet, although I’m planning at least two multi-colored string projects (again, strings from random scraps that don’t fit into a particular color family) and one RSC project where I’ll make string blocks in the monthly color. I have a week or two to make a final decision on that pattern.

What I did tackle this week were some scrappy red chunks so that I could make a test block of two of the blocks I’m definitely doing for this year’s RSC.  The first is Crackers. I love this block so much; it’s easy and fun to make.


I’ll be using black on white backgrounds for these. In fact, I’ve already pulled some additional fabric in red, white and black with scottie dogs on it to make dozens of these blocks into a donation quilt this month.  Maybe one thing I’ll be doing is making a small kids’ donation quilt in the color of the month. We’ll see how that pans out. I’ll have more pictures and updates on this as the month progresses.

The other block I’m doing is Jen Kingwell’s Little White Dove block. You can click THIS LINK  for the pattern.  But the picture that got my juices flowing was HERE.  And this is my first test block. More to follow (hopefully at least 4 per color) as the month progresses.


That’s all for my rainbow projects for this week, but I did make progress on Saguaro Sunset. This is the quilt I’m making for my SIL and BIL for when we go to visit them in Arizona next month.  It will be 12 cacti set in three rows of four, with the sunset fading from darker at the top to lighter at the bottom. I bought an ombre fabric (but not enough) for the background. So, I found a similar ombre and bought a couple yards of that to cut up for borders and use here an there.

After piecing the first row, I decided that I needed to forego the pattern and just cut the background pieces in 2.5” squares to better control the gradation of color. Hence the haphazard pinning and piecing you see here.


The above picture is how it looked at the beginning of the week. In the picture below, I’ve pieced one cactus in the second row and am OK with the colors. My hope is to make substantial progress on this second row in the coming week.


That’s about it from here. Today I have to go out and pick up Bernadette (my Bernina) who is ready to come home from the “spa” (annual servicing). I got an email on Thursday night that she was ready, but the store was closed for inventory yesterday. So today it is. And then I have to head south down to Thimbles & Threads (The Quilter’s Lodge) to pick up an order. They had some beautiful masculine fabric on sale at year-end online. I’m trying to make more boy- or masculine-themed donation quilts this year. And finally, I have a donation quilt to drop off. But first I have floors to clean before I can get my shower. Then I’ll have lunch and head out to run the errands. With a little luck, I might be able to squeeze in a couple hours of sewing today. If not, well, there’s always tomorrow!!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Hello January!

I’m doing a quick post today to link up the picture of my Good Fortune Mystery Quilt-Along Part 6 pieces to Bonnie Hunter’s linky party.  Come see the amazing participation by quilters worldwide!!

Here are all my neutral string pieces. Not terribly photogenic, I know, LOL!  I actually pieced the whole amount (instead of 1/2 - 2/3 like the other clues) and will spend the next few days hopefully catching up on some of the other clue pieces. This has been so much fun!


I also wanted to take a moment to share my favorite Christmas gifts from this season. 

This first item is a table topper that now resides on the vintage radio in our entryway. It was made by our dear friend Terri W, who was widowed in the early part of last year. Her hubby Mike was Bruce’s lifelong best friend. Notice the three Friendship Stars? That represents their folk group, The Muddy Gutter Boys, which consisted of Mike, Bruce and Rob. I’ve spoken about the Muddy Gutter Boys (MGB) on the blog before. (See This, or this ).

The fabrics of the three stars (and border and backing) came from Mike’s MGB shirts. The three guys wore matching long-sleeved shirts in the winter, usually in colors reminiscent of Christmas - because they did lots and lots of Christmas programs for senior homes, churches and other civic groups. They played together as a group for 53 years (starting as teenagers!!). 


The second item is a photo collage on canvas that my son and DIL Kim made for me. The pictures are from our summer trip to Kenya last July. The pictures show the sunrise, animals and two of us; one with me and DGD Lauren and one of Lauren, Kim and me with the Maasai warriors that we met in the bush. It’s hanging in the library, which I now call The Africa Room. It’s about 16x20”.


Hope you’re staying warm! We woke up this morning to 13-degree (F) temperatures. COLD. It did get up to 25 today, however. A heat wave! LOL.